Support during COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Here you will find updates and information on general qualifications for teachers, parents and students in international schools.

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Our priority, as with any exam series, is to make sure that every student receives a grade or award that reflects their knowledge and understanding of the subject they have studied. This year is no different; ensuring that students receive a grade or award that is accurate and fair so that they can make progress.

In order to assist centres we have created a comprehensive guidance on the process for deriving grades this summer. This document provides an overview of the approach together with detail on each of the specific aspects – including quality assurance, grading and appeals. It is important that you take time work through the document and in the coming weeks we will do all that we can to support you in your understanding of it.

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Downloading your marks and scripts  

When the marks for the unseen assessments are available, they will be sent to your inbox in Edexcel Online. We are aiming to return all marks by 11 June.   

We are providing Access to Scripts once they are marked to help with your decision-making on awarding grades. You can access candidate scripts via the normal Access to Scripts service, available on Edexcel Online. 

Reviewing the marks of your students

The Excel spreadsheet will download into a template that displays the candidate information and the score, as below.  This gives raw marks per candidate per paper taken. Please note that the figure that should be referred to is the ‘Assessed Mark’ figure, which is the raw number of marks the student has achieved.


Unseen mark return example

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When reviewing the assessed mark in context, please do not use the maximum figure – this is the UMS maximum which should be disregarded. The raw mark maximum can be found in the specification or on the front cover of the papers.

Please visit our October/November 2021 exam series page for UK and International qualifications

We're pleased to confirm that we'll be offering an additional International GCSE series in November 2021. This is an additional arrangement for 2021 only. We’ll be running a focused January 2022 series.

We currently offer an October series for International AS/A level (IAL), and this will go ahead as planned in October 2021. In addition, selected units will be made available to provide an opportunity for students to achieve what they need for progression. We also offer a January series and this will also go ahead as planned in January 2022.

Across these two series, at least one exam opportunity for each modular IAL unit will be available before the May/June 2022 series.

We currently offer an October Series for iPrimary and iLowerSecondary and this will go ahead as planned in October 2021.

Please look at the subject availability for International Qualifications


Ofqual announced the outcomes of its consultation on the format of GCSE, AS and A level assessments for autumn 2021. On 14 May 2021, Ofqual confirmed that the adjustments, which were applied in summer 2021, will also apply to the autumn 2021 exam series for GCSE.

For international qualifications, including International GCSE and International AS/A Level, any adjustments that were due to be applied in May/June 2021, will also be applied in autumn 2021.

May/June 2021 Series

iPrimary and iLowerSecondary (iPLS) scheduled assessment options will be available in May/June 2021 as planned where local government public health guidance permits. We also intend to run the iPLS October 2021 series as normal.

iPrimary and iLowerSecondary provide excellent preparation for International GCSE but are not a required formal progression gateway. They have been, and will continue to be, optional assessments.

Any centres with further questions should contact their regional representative.

October 2021 Series

An October series will be available, as already planned, for all subjects in iPrimary and iLowerSecondary.

We have issued guidance for centres accepting private candidate entries for international qualifications. It provides an overview of the May/June 2021 assessment process for centres accepting entries for private candidates taking International GCSEs, International AS or International A Levels.

To make sure that private candidates have sufficient time to make entries for international qualifications, we will be waiving late fees for private candidates up to 26 April.

Download a guide for centres accepting private candidate entries below or visit our private candidates page.

Private candidates

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We recognise that students around the world are facing different circumstances and many of you will be disappointed that exams are not taking place in May/June 2021.

Our priority is to ensure your safety and well-being, and that you fairly receive a grade that reflects your knowledge and understanding. We know that you will have some questions, which we’ve tried to answer here:

I want to sit exams this summer. Why are you not making them available?

Our priorities throughout this pandemic have been to keep everyone safe and well, and to ensure fairness, so that every student receives a grade that reflects their knowledge and understanding of the subject they have studied.

With the ongoing global uncertainty and the changing nature of the pandemic on almost a daily basis, we have concluded that it’s not possible to achieve these priorities. We understand that this decision will be frustrating for some students and parents and that others will welcome it.

While making this decision, we spoke to many schools, teachers and students and we carefully considered a range of scenarios. This included having exams in some countries and teacher assessment in others. However, given the ongoing uncertainty, we feel that this could not be done fairly and would likely risk unintentionally disadvantaging individual students.

What are my options if I want to sit exams?

We also intend to make available an additional focused exam series for International GCSE later in the year. We will be consulting with schools separately on this. Our October exam series for International AS/A Level will go ahead, as usual. This will enable students who prefer to take exams to have the opportunity to do so.

Where can I find out more and get support on wellbeing?

Feeling a certain amount of concern or worry is natural when we encounter difficult or unsettling times. We would like to support wherever we can, from mindfulness practice to safeguarding, and are providing a range of resources suitable for teachers, parents and young people. If you are feeling anxious or upset, please remember to always talk to someone. If you are a student, talking to your family/parent/guardian or your close friends can help.

We want to ensure parity with our UK qualifications and so will align the approach for NEA on international qualifications with the approach for UK qualifications.

Ofqual have confirmed, following the publication of their decisions on assessment arrangements for May/June 2021, that candidates should continue to be given the opportunity to complete non-exam assessment (NEA) for GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has released guidance for centres on how to complete and authenticate non-exam assessment remotely, where it's safe and possible to do so.

Ofqual have also confirmed that NEA will not be assessed by the exam boards. The evidence from NEA will be used by teachers to inform their Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG). We know that teachers may be concerned about how to assess incomplete NEA evidence when a candidate has been unable to finish their work through no fault of their own. The exam boards are working together to provide additional guidance to help centres in these circumstances.

Below is the initial timeline of some of the key activities that we're working towards. We'll update this as more key dates become available.

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On 25 February, the Department for Education and Ofqual confirmed that results will be issued to students in early August.

  • AS/A Level and International AS/A Level results will be issued to students on Tuesday 10 August 2021
  • GCSE and International GCSE results will be issued to students on Thursday 12 August 2021.

As usual, exam boards will release results to centres on the preceding day.  

We want to reassure all students and parents that we are actively engaging with global universities and admissions bodies about the approach to teacher assessed grades this year. We will continue to do this throughout the process.

We know that universities and qualification evaluators remain committed to upholding transparency and fairness to all students from every curriculum around the world in these uncertain times. They will provide feedback on how they will evaluate teacher assessed grades once we have finalised our process.

Universities are aware that students need reassurance that they will not be disadvantaged in their applications for admission and advance standing/credit.

Although it is very early in the process, some universities have already confirmed that they will welcome students with teacher assessed grades and that they will hold the same value as exam-derived results.

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We have not yet finalised arrangements for the January 2022 exam series. We will let you know as soon as possible whether the adjustments which applied in summer and autumn 2021 may apply in January 2022. 

We fully understand teachers' need to plan their courses for the forthcoming academic year. We align our decisions on international qualifications to those for GCSE and A level. At present, the DfE and Ofqual have not yet confirmed the format of assessments in summer 2022 for GCSE, AS and A level. Any decision is likely to be preceded by a consultation. Ofqual has finished consulting on arrangements for non-examined assessments in 2022. The consultation was on subjects with practical elements. The outcomes can be found on the Ofqual website

Until such time as the arrangements for summer 2022 are known, it is safest to plan for no adjustments.

Further information and guidance

BTEC information and guidance for international centres

LCCI information and guidance for international centres

PTE Academic information and guidance for international centres

You can submit questions using our contact form. If you need to talk to us about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the effect on your centre and learners, Exam Officers can call us on +44 (0) 120 4770 696.